DO NOT feel you must pay to be on an agency website. This is wrong and it makes me SOOOOO mad when agencies imply you must pay to be on their website. This is not so, and don't feel forced into it. More than ever more agencies are telling aspiring models to pay to be seen by clients on their website. I don't agree. An agent has build a business by having good relationships with their clients, the brand, the editor, the ad agency which cast models for their projects,--an agency should not be relying on a database to book their models, that is just amatuer and even in this Internet-age it is not right. Just because more girls want to be models and more agencies are working with more different types of models that doesn't mean it is ok to charge them to be on their website. That is just wrong. I work with great agencies and refuse and do not pay to be on their website, and if asked I'd refuse. At the high fashion agencies I heard that the models have the rate of these things taken out of their paychecks, well it is one thing if it is taken out of a job that the agency books you, but if you are paying upfront to be seen on a website of a talent or commercial print modeling agency, keep looking! There is legit out there, you do not have to pay to be seen on a modeling agency website. Don't think you do.
Another way to prevent scams: Do the work. The more you put into your pursuits, (make your comp cards, manage the photography you create, be selective about the photographer you work with and submit to the proper professional agencies-they are out there!)and manage them while working with your agencies the better. It used to be the agency was the all Mighty and yes, agencies are wonderful to work with, but never rely on a one source, one person, or anything, to make your goals come true. Put the work in, and stand by what you want and be prepared for the work.
I hope this helps, Isobella